A revamped premium range, opening more tills and keeping shelves well stocked paid off as the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket grew same-store sales by 2.9 per cent in the nine weeks to January 1.
Total takings were up 2 per cent despite an ongoing store closure programme.
Chief executive David Potts, who has led Morrisons’ turnaround since joining from Tesco nearly two years ago, said it had improved “across the board”.
He said its Nutmeg clothing range had performed well, along with fresh fruit and vegetables, wines and spirits and its new upmarket Best range, which he described as “a game changer for us this Christmas”.
Top sellers included 2.4 million bottles of prosecco, a rise of about 250,000 on last year, party food, flowers and a Christmas tree-shaped gateau.
Potts also talked up the benefits of a new automated ordering system.
He said: “We are becoming more relevant to more people. “This Christmas we made further improvements to the customer shopping trip.
"We stocked more of what our customers wanted to buy, more tills were open more often, and product availability improved as more than half of sales went through our new ordering system.
"Both like-for-like and total sales grew, which was very encouraging.
“Our improving performance is entirely due to the continuing hard work of the team of food makers and shopkeepers.”
Morrisons expects annual underlying pre-tax profit of £330-340 million, ahead of City forecasts of £326 million. Its shares rose 8mp to 246p.
Phil Dorrell, partner at consultants Retail Remedy, said: “Morrisons’ likefor-like sales growth over Christmas is quite remarkable and all the more noteworthy coming on top of last year’s.
“Potts has turned this ship around and while navigating a big tanker like this takes time, his grip on the tiller is both clear and strong.”